For over 25 years, History Colorado and the Colorado Department of Agriculture have recognized the important role that agriculture has played in our state’s history and economic development through the Centennial Farms program at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
Above: Kochis Farm homestead, 2009. Photo courtesy of the Kochis Farm.
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Fred Magnuson purchased 98 acres in Weld County in 1910 from John and Christina Smillie who had homesteaded under the Timber Culture Act. Fred and his wife Josephine were already farming and residing on another nearby farm. They paid $15,000 for their new place, though they never actually lived on it.
Born in Germany in 1884, Max Reiche emigrated to America in 1907 and worked on a Long Island dairy farm while he learned English. He spent the next several years traveling around the country riding freight trains and working in blacksmith shops before eventually settling in Haxtun where he started a shop in 1910 dealing farm implements.
Edwonne McCaw came out to Colorado having heard of the greatness of livestock and land opportunities in the San Juan Basin from his brothers. He obtained some land on the west side of the Florida River at the head of Cottonwood Draw. In 1913 he exchanged land titles with neighboring rancher and moved to the area that is now known as McCaw Mesa.
John Zendner homesteaded the first section of the future McCracken Farms in 1917. Finding his first water well caused him so much frustration eventually he threw his hat and said “This is where I am digging the next hole.” He found water where his hat had landed. The Farm is now 1,740 acres. They sold all their cattle in 1998 and now farm wheat and millet.
Herman Brand arrived in the U.S. from Germany on April 1, 1880, at the age of 18. After several years of working in Ohio and Denver, he came to Yuma County in 1887. In April 1891, he married Rose Katrola, and three years later he purchased the original acres of the now Mekelburg farm.
Muhme Farm began in 1917 with Fred Muhme. Historically, the family farmed corn, Coors brewing barley, wheat, sugar beets, pinto beans and sunflowers. Today, their major crops include alfalfa hay and silage corn.